So, we have a Christian, Andy Bannister, who wants to ask “Why are some atheists so afraid of changing their minds?”. This is a video, and of course, the comments are turned off. So much for being the “confident” Christians that Solas claims on their website, eh?
Unsurprisingly, the video starts off with the usual false claims about atheists, how rude we all are for not blindly accepting what the particular Christian says, that we all evidently can’t come up with anything ourselves but have to repeat what other atheists say (which begs the question “since we are all repeating someone else, who is actually the originator of these things?”), that we have bad grammar and spelling (oh do call the kettle black, pot), and of course trying to be insulting by equating atheist with idiot, in the ever-so clever “village atheist” comment.
We end up quickly in the claims somehow atheists are fearful and this is “why” atheists don’t engage with the “best” arguments for Christianity. This isn’t a new claim, it is just the “sophisticated theology” bit of nonsense that many Christians trot out, that atheists only pick the low hanging fruit to address. This excuse is, of course, dependent on the theist being willfully ignorant about how atheists have indeed addresses those “best” arguments too. This video isn’t for atheists, it is for a Christian to reinforce the false beliefs of himself and other Christians. Apologetics aren’t for atheists, they are for theists.
Unsurprisingly, Andy says that atheists should “properly” examine the claims of the Christian faith. The term “properly” comes up often in apologetics and the definition that is used this context is “in an acceptable or suitable way” not “in an accurate or correct way”. It is nothing more than a code word for agreeing with the theist and not questioning what they say, something that is “acceptable” to them.
Andy goes on to appeal to authority in the form of Alistair McGrath, who evidently must be correct because he has a degree. This fellow, anglican priest at Oxford (who defines atheists as ” I became an atheist – somebody who deliberately and intentionally does not believe in God and thinks that anyone who does believe in God is mentally deficient or seriously screwed up.'”, supposedly received a letter from a student that who became a Christian after reading one of McGrath’s books and the “very best” Christian philosophers. Of course, this student was an atheist, because that makes the story. This atheist never ever read the “other side of the argument” but when he did, poof, he became a Christian. This of course ignores reality since this doesn’t happen every time, and indeed, atheists often become atheists because they did read the holy book of Christianity and realized what nonsense it is and read other books to see that the bible didn’t reflect reality. To see McGrath’s other use of failed apologetics, here is a video/transcript of an interview with him. This is the “quality” of McGrath’s arguments: “Number one, there are a very large number of scientists who are religious believers; and these are not stupid people at all. ” Quite a pathetic start, an appeal to authority fallacy. Here‘s a more thorough take down of McGrath’s arguments. If he is one of the ‘best’, Christianity doesn’t have much to support it.
Andy goes on to repeat the claim that atheists don’t address the “best” arguments for Christianity by recommending these “best” authors like Rebecca McLaughlin. Now, Dr. McLaughlin is one of those with again degrees, beloved by Biologos and is an entirely awful apologist. This is her on her ‘one minute apologetics.” “The Jesus of the Gospels is either God in the flesh or a terrible imposter. There is no middle ground.” That is really all she has, nothing different from Paul saying, yep, we believe becuase we gotta believe. She wrote a book, Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion. That’s one assumption right in the title, since we know that Christians don’t consider each other Christians by the millions. Looking at the amazon preview of the book, we see the usual apologetics, that somehow Christianity has dibs on every good human action and is the only thing responsible for human rights, the claim that persecution makes Christianity true, that somehow atheists have no morality, etc. In other words, the same false and baseless claims, nothing new or “sophisticated” here at all.
He also of course tries to claim that atheists don’t read these arguments with an open mind and accusing atheists of being cowards and not “serious”, to again try to claim that we aren’t being honest or brave or seriously considering the material. He also insists that pointing out that a Christian is wrong is being “rude”, doing the typical appeal to politeness when he has nothing else. Nothing like a Christian accusing someone of lying and having no evidence for it.
It is interesting that Andy never mentions what a single one of these “best” arguments are. One would suspect that is because when one of the arguments is dismantled, he can insist that wasn’t one of the “best” ones and then run to the next, never taking responsibility for his claims.
Atheists aren’t afraid of changing our minds. We have no reason to .